Klip by Sample Magic is a virtual drum machine and step sequencer for Native Instruments Kontakt and Kontakt Player. The instrument comes bundled with a huge sound pack of over 4,000 individual samples and loops from Sample Magic’s premium range of electronica, techno, and house sample libraries. In this review, we are taking a closer look at Klip and giving away one free copy of the instrument to one lucky BPB reader.
Keep reading to learn more about this exciting drum machine for Kontakt Player and enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of Sample Magic Klip. You might also want to check out our recently published reviews of Sample Magic Boost and Sample Magic Warehouse Tech.
Klip sports a modern looking user interface, with a 16-pad sampler positioned on the left and a multi-view section for controlling the step sequencer and the built-in effects on the right. The upper portion of the interface shows the waveform of the selected sample/loop, a sample browser, and a row of transport controls for recording and playback. For an advanced groovebox built inside Kontakt, Klip does a pretty good job of placing all of its controls on a single panel without making it too cluttered. Anyone who used a hardware or software drum machine in the past will right at home with Klip’s sixteen drum pads and the mixer section, as the layout follows the standards set by plugins like FXpansion Geist, NI Battery, and others.
Granted, reading the manual or at least watching the official video tutorials on YouTube is a must since most of the advanced sequencing features won’t be apparent at first glance. Whereas the UI designer managed to place all of the most important features right in front of the user, some of Klip’s more advanced controls might not be that obvious for a first time user. That said, after getting a bit more familiar with the available shortcuts and the step sequencer’s control layout, I was quick to embrace Klip’s blazingly fast sequencing and groove programming workflow. But more on that later.
The instrument comes with a library of over 4,000 individual audio loops and samples handpicked from Sample Magic’s various electronica-oriented sound libraries. The included sample content covers a range of electronic drum sounds, from modern electro and house percussion to vintage drum machine sounds. There are literally thousands of drum sounds to choose from, neatly sorted in Klip’s sample browser by style and drum type. Also included are one-shot synth samples which come in handy for building basslines and lead melodies in Klip’s step sequencer. The synthesized samples weren’t just an afterthought, obviously, as I was happy to find some very inspiring and rich sounding stabs, bass hits, leads, organ sounds, and chords sampled from classic keyboards such as the Roland Juno-60, Roland SH-101, Sequential Circuits Pro-One, and others.
The loop content isn’t lacking either, covering a variety of drum, percussion, synth, vocal, bass, and SFX loops spanning across a range of electronica styles. A loop can be loaded to any of the sixteen sample slots, just like a sample. It will automatically adapt to the project’s BPM setting with minimal time-stretching artifacts, courtesy of the powerful Kontakt engine. The loops are also organized into categories by style and are labeled with BPM information.
Klip also includes a range of factory patches. These range from simple drum kits or sets of multiple drums of the same type (kicks, snares, etc.), to full track templates and construction kits. Once loaded, the factory presets can be freely customized to better suit your project.
And now for the big question – can Klip load external samples? The answer is no. On one hand, this will disappoint veteran users who are looking for an affordable workhorse drum sampler to load and sequence their existing drum samples. On the other hand, producers with a smaller arsenal of sounds or users who simply prefer having everything in one place will find more than enough sample firepower in Klip’s library. Since enabling users to load external samples in Klip would be against the Kontakt licensing terms, I wouldn’t expect this feature to be added in the future.
However, Sample Magic has announced that they will be releasing multiple expansion packs for Klip. And with its set of over 4,000 individual Sample Magic sounds, the base package is already quite impressive. I don’t know the exact numbers but, according to the information I read online, the price of the included sample content (if purchased separately) would exceed the price of Klip.
Whereas sequencing inside Kontakt was once a very limited and uninspiring affair, Klip goes to show how much things have progressed in the recent years. Klip’s step sequencer is one the fastest and most inspiring sequencers I’ve ever used, feeling more like an actual instrument than a static grid for triggering samples. Apart from triggering samples, the sequencer can modulate a range of parameters like pitch, pan, filter cutoff, resonance, sample slice, and more. These parameters can be sequenced individually for each channel, making room for all sorts of elaborate and clever modulation combos. Sequencing a hi-hat’s pitch and cutoff can instantly add a sense of groove to a drum loop, whereas a static snare roll can be animated with subtle pan and velocity tweaks. The sequencer can also control various FX parameters like saturation amount and delay/reverb send, making things even more interesting. But it gets better.
Simply reading the paragraph above might lead you to think that Klip’s sequencer is versatile but also somewhat complicated to use as a result. On the contrary, programming a complex sequence with multiple modulated parameters is very intuitive and also quite fun. The values can be drawn in simply by clicking and dragging the mouse pointer across a lane. The parameters can also be randomized or fully reset for a fresh start. The best option, though, especially for programming percussive elements like hi-hats and cymbals, are the provided sequencer templates which offer a variety of common sequence types. These can be loaded on any sequencer lane, providing a great tool for quick sequence building and trying out new ideas.
Sequencing via mouse is not the only option, though. You can also perform your sequences live and record them into Klip’s step sequencer. The instrument is compatible with a range of outboard controllers and fits well within the Native Instruments ecosystem. Apart from capturing the human feel through a live performance, sequenced drums can be enhanced by adding shuffle or adjusting the individual sample offset.
It may sound like a phrase, but the article above is only scratching the surface of Klip’s extensive features. Going deeper into the ins and outs of Klip’s audio mixer and live performance features might turn this review into a user manual, so I suggest watching the official demo videos on Sample Magic’s YouTube channel for more info.
Klip’s most impressive feature, without a doubt, is its insanely powerful yet intuitive step sequencer. A dull programmed drum loop can be transformed into a thrilling groove with just a few mouse clicks and swipes. Mangling existing audio loops is equally simple, with automatic time-stretching and a variety of parameters which are ready to modulate. I can only imagine how fun it would be to use Klip on a touchscreen-enabled device with a stylus. The included sample content is impressive as well, packing an extensive library of premium-quality audio loops and samples that provide a good substitute for loading external samples.
More info: Sample Magic Klip ($70 intro price, $99 regular price)
Sample Magic is kindly giving away one free copy of Klip to one lucky BPB reader! To enter the giveaway, submit your name and email address in the form below. You will be subscribed to BPB’s mailing list, with the option to unsubscribe at any time. You can further increase your chances of winning by completing the bonus entries (such as subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, etc.).
The winner will be announced on this page on Friday, November 3rd. We will also notify the winner via email, so please double-check your email address for typos when entering the giveaway. Good luck everyone and thanks for reading BPB!